White Deer Land Museum

Boydston Was Named For Henry Boydstun

Henry Boydstun, the first settler in the community that was known by his name, came with his wife and children to the Donley County area in September, 1889. The following April a three-day-old son was buried in the first grave dug in the Boydstun Cemetery established in 1890.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

That same year John Fraser, riding on horseback with his brother-in-law, came south from Clarendon to look for land on which he could file a claim. Arriving above the Caprock, he saw an ocean of grass, and as he approached the southeast corner of the section he was later to own, he said, “This is where I want to plant my feet.”

After filing a claim, John built a two-room house with lumber hauled from Clarendon. With his wife, formerly Margaret Troup, he moved into this house on February 2, 1891. Their sole possessions consisted of a wagon, a team of horses and a claim on one section of land (then in Donley County but now the South line of Gray County).

The Frasers were the fourth family in the community. Their first child, Beatrice, born July, 1891, was the first girl born in the new settlement.

John tilled his farm with a walking plow and helped to build fences on the Goodnight ranch for 50 cents a day. P.E. Johnson and Tom Roby, who were then working on the Goodnight ranch, became his lifelong friends. Margaret washed and ironed for the cowboys and made clothes for the family.

The Frasers raised as much food as possible and stored it in pits and cellars for winter. Vegetable tops made fodder for cows and chickens.

As other settlers moved in and filed on surrounding land, an application was made for a post office because of the inconvenience of going to Clarendon for mail. In April, 1891, the Post Office Department granted the request and John Fraser was appointed postmaster. The post office, which was to supply 50 people, was in his home.

Although “Boydstun” was submitted as the name for the post office, unfortunately the name was misspelled in the National Archives and the post office and the community became known as “Boydston.”

The post office was established in Donley County , but a survey made in December, 1902, placed it in Gray County. John later said that his house was in Gray County , his barn was in Donley County , and his bank was in Carson County.

At first water was hauled from two hand-dug wells on the Goodnight ranch. In 1893, John drilled the first well in Boydston on his own land. A horse was used to pull the machinery for drilling the 300-feet deep well. Margaret, with a child in her arms, walked and drove the horses while Mr. McGraff guided the drill.

In 1891, the Frasers gave land for a school (Southwest), at which church services could also be held. John built a rock wall for a windbreak and planted many shade and fruit trees. He bought more land when people sold out during the bad winter of 1893, Many cattle starved and the Frasers started a dairy herd with calves left after the mother cows died. Margaret sold butter for 25 cents a pound; the butter was taken to Clarendon in “The Butter Bucket” by the mail carrier.

A trip of 25 miles to Clarendon took two days. The family took bedrolls and spent the night in the wagon yard. Margaret took cold biscuits to induce their stubborn horse to make the uphill climb on their way home.

In 1900-1901, the Rock Island (Choctaw) Railroad was surveyed through the Boydston settlement about one hundred yards south of the Fraser home. A curve was made in the railroad to avoid destroying the house. The engineers who surveyed the road had their own cook and lived in tents put up south of the house. They lived there about a whole year while the survey was made in the area.

John contracted to build several miles of the road bed. He hired all of the neighbors with their teams and scrapers (or slips as they were called) to help build it.

The settlers brought buggies and hacks for transportation, and Studebaker box wagons to haul their supplies. In 1902-1903, the ties and steel were laid for the new railroad. The first trains ran in late August, 1903.

When Gray County was organized in 1902, John Fraser was the presiding officer for Precinct 3. The birth of William Troup Fraser, on September 8, 1903, was the first to be recorded in organized Gray County . On September 16, 1903, Charles Lewis Fraser (age 10) was killed in an accident and was buried in Boydstun Cemetery .

About 1904 or 1905 the farmers put up their own telephone lines which ran on the wire fences until Groom put up a telephone exchange. Then the lines were tacked to the tops of the fence posts and the neighbors joined the Groom exchange.

Prairie schooners were a common sight about the years 1905-1906. People with all their possessions were moving in these covered wagons from Oklahoma to New Mexico to file on claims. Real estate agents brought many of these immigrants to the Fraser farm because it had a cellar that showed the depth of the soil.

A colony of German people from Iowa settled north and west of the Boydston community. The Southwest School , started in 1902-1903, became the Bohr School (CSD #5). It was consolidated with Groom in 1929.

East of Boydston, Ephram Capell and Mary Ida (Morgan) Schaffer lived on McClellan Creek north of Jericho . The Schaffers had a sorghum mill and made two kinds of molasses, thick and thin. The Fraser children called the thick molasses “Eph” and the thin, “Ida”.

By 1908-1909 the country was well settled and farming began on a large scale. The steam engine was shipped into the country and replaced the teams that formerly pulled the separators used to thresh the grain. Soon the headbinder was used to head and bind the grain.

About this time John planted a field of alfalfa for pasturing hogs which he had begun to feed comercially after the railroad was built. He and his children had to herd and drive the first hogs to Jericho , a distance of five miles to the stock pens where they were loaded for shipment to Oklahoma City . This gave John the idea to ask the railroad company for a siding or switch at Boydston. His request was granted.

About 1912 wagons, hacks and buggies were giving way to motor cars. The Frasers’ first car was a model T with acetylene lights.

In 1916 John built a large house which was home to all of the family for many years. This house is now located in Pampa just south of west 23rd Street a short distance west of Price Road .

A grain elevator, built at Boydston Switch in 1919, was sold in 1934 by the company that built it. John bought the elevator and operated it until his death in 1941.

The way of living at Boydston began to change after the coming of the railroad and the establishment of post offices in Groom and Jericho. When the school was moved to Groom in 1929, the community center was broken up.

The post office at Boydston was closed on January 31, 1940. On the closing day postal card mailed to each of the Fraser children:

John Fraser, P.M.
April 4, 1891 to January 31, 1940
Boydston , Texas
Last mail out of P.O.

The same day about 40 postal cards were mailed to various people in various parts of the United States . These persons were collecting postal cards of post offices being closed.

About 1895 the tracks of the Rock Island Railroad were taken up. Now the only reminders of Boydston are just west of the intersection of I-40 and SH 70. Travelers may see the deserted elevator to the south and signs pointing the way to Boydston Road which leads to various farms in the area.

Two Pampa women, who have died recently, made significant contributions to the White Deer Land Museum.

In the spring of 1976, Mrs. F.M. (Esther Anne) Culberson, who died January 16, 1991, worked, framed and donated two pieces of needlepoint with these patterns: Gray County Bicentennial (U.S.) Medallion and Area Bicentennial Medallion.

During the 1970s, Mrs. W.H. (Ora E.) Lewis, who died January 25, 1991, donated a number of items: clippings and pictures, shaving mug, depression glass dishes, furnished doll house and stand and many fully clothed dolls. The doll house and dolls are very appealing to little girls.

(A Chronicle of Carson County has these interesting stories: “The Boydston Story” in Vol. I, pp. 201-208 and “Fraser” in Vol. II, pp. 121-128.)

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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